Tim Burton decorated it “in his signature creepy-comic style. His film version was about to be released, and he had turned the room into the Mad Hatter’s tea party...ADDED: And:
“Burton’s own Mad Hatter, the actor Johnny Depp, presided over the scene in full costume, standing up on a table to welcome everyone in character.”
The president's aides decided the party would send the wrong message at a time when the Tea Party was on the rise with its message against Washington's excesses and unemployment had risen sharply to ten per cent.
"White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton's and Depp's contributions went unacknowledged...."